Cranberry Crackle Pie

If you bought an extra bag of cranberries I got the perfect recipe for dessert. Easy, not too rich or filling and very tasty. I found this recipe on line, several years ago, at splendidtable.com.  I loved the look and once I tasted it; love at first bite.  Like a fruit tart and a pavlova had a baby: this is the felicitous result.  Light and delicate making it perfect after a hearty feast.  It is really guilt free if you eat it minus any toppings.  I devoured it with vanilla ice cream on top at a Christmas luncheon. Maybe next time I will be serving it like you do a Pavlova, with lightly sweetened real whipped cream on top. Yumm!

It is really easy to throw together.  If you are gf you can use the cookie crust recipe I provide, I adapted the splendid table recipe to make it gluten tree using Annalise Roberts’great cookie crust. At holidays,like Thanksgiving and Christmas, Wegmans often has gf ready-made crusts. So does Frey’s Better Foods in Hellertown. If you are a wheat eater use whatever cookie tart crust you like.  I added the cinnamon to my crust and found it added a lot to the complexity of the flavors.  The crust absolutely needs to be prebaked and cooled before you put the tart together.

I made it in a glass pie tin but often use a ten inch ceramic tart pan.  Both work great; so it is a tart or a pie depending on the vessel you bake it in!

I should say I now love to use fresh cranberries; I made a raw relish – old family recipe – for Thanksgiving and a cooked one from fresh cranberries.  A big favorite of mine are cranberry muffins; making some this weekend. Before I discovered this recipe and those muffins I never used fresh cranberries except to make relish.  Anyway, my point is; this tart is fantastic tasting even if you aren’t a huge cranberry fan.

I used some homemade raspberry jam (what I had and what the recipe called for) but you could probably use most any jam.  Just chose one full of real fruit in a flavor you like as you can definitely taste the jammy flavor mixed in with the crust and the meringue topping. I love it with raspberry jam, a favorite flavor for me.

Sweet Cookie Crust

Place the following in a stand mixer bowl and combine

1 cup GF flour (recipe below)

¼ cup granulated sugar

1 tsp xanthan gum

½ tsp. cinnamon

Add 5 tbsp cold butter, cut into 6-7 chunks.  Mix on low until the butter is just crumbs blended in.

Add 1 tsp. vanilla extract and 1 tbsp water.  Blend well.

Pour the crumbs into a ten inch tart pan that was sprayed with cooking spray.  Or a glass pie pan which is how I made it this past weekend.  Spread it up the sides.  Press gently in so it is a cohesive crust but do not press really hard or it will be like concrete when you finish baking it!

Bake at 350 degrees for 18 minutes. Set the crust on a rack to cool to room temperature.  Do not let it get more than light brown.

Filling

2 tablespoons chunky cherry, raspberry or strawberry jam

2 large egg whites, at room temperature

Pinch of fine sea salt

1/2 cup sugar

1 1/2 cups cranberries (if they’re frozen, don’t thaw)

Confectioners’ sugar, for dusting

When you’re ready to fill and bake the tart: Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F.

Cranberry prep: I rinse them and remove any squishy ones.  There are usually a few of those mixed in and they aren’t great for anyone to eat.  Let them dry.

Gently spoon the jam on top of the crust and spread it evenly over the bottom, I used the back of my big spoon for this operation. In a large bowl with a hand mixer, beat the egg whites with the salt at medium speed just until they are fluffy and fairly opaque. With the mixer going, add the sugar in a slow, steady stream, then keep beating on high until the whites are shiny and form definite peaks; they will look like marshmallow.  This is a meringue.

Pour the cranberries into the bowl of meringue and, using a flexible spatula or spoonula fold them into the meringue. Try to distribute the fruit evenly, but don’t mix too much– you want to keep the meringue fluffy. Spoon the meringue over the jam and spread it to the edges, making it swirly if you’d like. The jam might push up around the sides of the meringue, and that’s fine.  Don’t fret if it looks like not enough filling, it will puff up in the oven to fill the pie pan.

Bake the tart for 1 hour, at which point the top will be light beige and cracked here and there. (If you’d like more color, you can bake it a bit longer or even put it under the broiler.)  I did not go there!  Transfer the tart to a cooling rack and cool to room temperature.  I did cut it while slightly warm and my slice was just perfection.  If you’d like, and I do, dust the tart with confectioners’ sugar before serving. Ice cream, whipped cream or even organic plain yogurt on the side is also great.
cranberry-crackle-tart-cut

Storing: The tart is best the first two days after it’s made, although it’s still pretty nice the third day. Leave the tart at room temperature, covering only the cut part with a piece of wax paper or plastic wrap.  I doubt you will have any after the second day anyway. It is that tasty.

Brown Rice Flour Mix  (Same as King Arthur’s GF Blend)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

 

Advertisements

Pecan Tartlets

As 2016 was my year to blog on pies I feel compelled to share yet more yummy pieness.  This one is a bunch of tartlets; about 4 inches across. Since I didn’t need a whole pecan pie I made a 2/3 batch of filling for six flat bottom tartlets filled with pecan gooey yumminess. Just an idea if you don’t want a whole big pie. Plus everyone loves a tartlet; like a whole pie just for you!  They keep about 3 days in a sealed container…if they last that long.

Notes: You have to use dark corn syrup.  Yes, I know corn syrup is an unhealthy item but sometimes you just have to go wicked!  It’s worth it, I promise. Cross my heart.

These tartlets are awesome as is but are also great with some freshly whipped cream or vanilla ice cream which is popular at my house.

Angie’s GF Pecan Tartlets 

Crust:

1 c plus 2 tbsp brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 Tbsp sweet rice flour

1 Tbsp granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbsp cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 large egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

Crust directions: Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembles coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes while you get the rest ready.

Filling:

2 large eggs

1/3 c sugar

1/4 tsp sea salt

2 and a half tbsp. melted butter

1/2 cup dark corn syrup

3/4 cups pecan halves

Sprinkle cinnamon

Filling: Beat eggs, sugar, salt, butter and corn syrup in stand mixer until well mixed, can use a hand held mixer.  Stir in pecans and a sprinkle of cinnamon.

Assembly: Roll out 2/3 of pie crust between the two sheets of wax paper; try to get the thickness even, no thick middle! Peel off one side of paper and cut into four sections across the middle.  Take a section and fit into a tartlet pan.  I use the flat bottomed ones; come in a set of four attached together.  Crimp edges all around.   Roll out the rest and form into the other two tartlet shells.I don’t leave a lot of crust at the top so I actually got 7 tartlet shells; the spare one was for me! Fill your shells with pecan mix.  I filled my spare with homemade raspberry jam sprinkled with pie crumbs that I had in the fridge. Bake in a preheated 375 degree oven on a low shelf for 25 or so minutes until set and crust edges lightly browned.  Cool at least 1/2 hour before serving at room temperature or slightly chilled.  The raspberry one was equally tasty and we actually each had half a raspberry and half a pecan tartlet with ice cream for dessert last weekend.  Perfection!

 pecan-and-raspberry-tartlets

Brown Rice Flour Mix (same as King Arthur’s gf flour blend)
2 c brown rice flour

2/3 c potato starch

1/3 c tapioca flour

The crust is from Annalise Robert’s great cookbook.  Gluten-Free Baking Classics, second edition.

Apple Crisp: Easy and Tasty

Apples are the centerpiece of the fall harvest culture.  Pumpkins are popular but they are a relatively new comer to the contest.  Some may think pumpkins are the way to go in baking but I firmly believe the apple is king in Autumn in America.  Crisp, sweet, flavorful and so very good for you.

If you can, get the organic ones as the sprays they use on growing apples are not at all good for you.  I recently made apple crisp with some baking apples from a pick it yourself farm near Milford NJ and it was very tasty indeed.  I especially suggest you get your apples at an actual apple orchard.  Another orchard just south of Hellertown is Bechdolt’s Orchard which grows many apple varieties.  Go there if you want the freshest tastiest apples in the Saucon Valley area.  Apples grow all over the globe so shop where you can get them fresh and crisp! The variety is up to you but I would not suggest any that are not meant for baking; don’t use red delicious as they are for eating only, same goes for honey crisp apples. apple-cart

This recipe is out of Gluten-Free Baking Classics Cookbook by Annalise G. Roberts with a few minor changes.  I am betting you can use any GF flour mix in this recipe, not like a cake or other baked goods that have very specific flour requirements.

And it is so much easier than a pie.  No crust to mix or roll out.  Just a simple mixed up topping to add to the cut up apples.  Bake it and voila: a yummy yet fairly healthy dessert!

I have made the topping several ways.  You can cut un-melted butter into the dry ingredients; it makes for a firmer crumb than the melted version below. I have made it egg free but it really somehow needs that egg to pull it together to mimic a wheat flour based crisp.  The oats can be left out if you don’t like them or can’t eat them. I personally love oats in my crisp.  A quarter cup of chopped nuts can be added to the topping; really a nice touch too!  I don’t like it too sweet so I use the lesser amount of sugar.  This is entirely a personal choice.  You can up the nutritional value by adding flaxmeal to the dry mix; 2-3 tbsp.

For those who love ice cream, this recipe is absolutely perfect with a big scoop of vanilla ice cream next to it.  I like it warm from the oven but it also is tasty cold the next day, if you have any left over that is!

pork tenderloin, banana choco cupcakes 007

Angie’s Apple Crisp

 

1 cup GF flour (mix below)

½ to ¾ cup sugar (I prefer brown sugar)

½ cup old fashioned gf oats

1 ¼ tsp baking powder

1 tsp cinnamon

Sprinkle of nutmeg

½ tsp xanthan gum

½ tsp. salt

1 large egg

6 cups peeled and thinly sliced apples

¼-1/3 cup butter, melted

 

Heat oven to 350 degrees.   Put rack in center level of oven.  Lightly butter a 9 inch square pan or spray with cooking spray.

 

Combine all the dry ingredients.  Add egg and stir to mix well.   Place apples in the baking pan, top with the dry mix and sprinkle with the melted butter.  Bake 40-50 minutes until bubbly and the topping is lightly browned. Let cool at least 10 minutes before dishing out. Six servings.

 

Brown Rice Flour Mix (same as King Arthur’s GF blend)
2 c brown rice flour (finely ground)

2/3 c potato starch – Not potato flour!

1/3 c tapioca flour

 

Originally posted by me October 2015.

Peach Melba: Peachy Perfect

Peach season is nearly done.  I have enjoyed excellent cobbler, spectacular peach tartlets and whole peaches au natural, the peach fuzz is full of fiber!  One more easy peach recipe for you: one with no cooking.  A recipe for a company dessert with next to no work, that sounds about perfect for my busy life.  raspberry-jam-014

Your success depends on the quality of the three ingredients. Yes, just three so they better be the best you can find!  I like peaches direct from the orchard, the best quality raspberry jam you can afford (homemade jam is the bomb for this recipe!) and excellent vanilla ice cream; I prefer Turkey Hill handmade vanilla. I got my pturkey-hill-vanilla-ice-creameaches at Bechdolt’s Orchard. Perfect full peachy flavor. Yessss.

I made raspberry jam this week; we picked raspberries at a pick your own farm in NJ.  Cooked down with sugar and pectin to give me 4 half pints and a quarter pint.  The flavor is intensely raspberry.  I highly recommend making your own jam for this recipe; it makes the flavor spectacular. raspberry jam 013.JPG

This post is about Peach Melba, created by that world renowned French chef Escoffier in honor of an Australian opera singer, Nellie Melba back in the early 1890’s.  If you look it up on line you can find fancy versions in stemmed glassware using a whole peach.  It is old school but truthfully the classics never go out of style. The flavors are just perfect together with next to no effort on your part.

My version of peach melba is very rustic; in a desert bowl, no stemmed foot ware, no six dollar a pint ice cream, but delightful.  A friend of mine wanted something special for company dessert, no baking, no gluten and fruit based.  I gave her this recipe and it was a huge hit.  Even a non-cook can put this beauty together in less then 10 minutes.

Peach Melba

(quantity per person)

One perfect ripe peach

One-two scoops vanilla ice cream

1 Tbps. raspberry jam, stirred up until it is semi-liquid

Directions:

Heat a pot of hot tap water just deep enough to immerse your peaches, bring it to a boil.  Gently drop in the peaches, turn heat down to medium and simmer for 3 minutes, remove with a slotted spoon.  Cool enough to be able to peel.  Peel the fruit, cut in half and remove the pit.

Place the peach halves in a dessert cup.  Top with 1-2 scoops of high quality vanilla ice cream and then drizzle the raspberry jam over the peaches and ice cream.  That’s all there is to peach melba.  Takes like 5 minutes to put together.  You can gild the lily with slivers of almonds but I prefer it with no additions.  The peaches and raspberries play off each other perfectly and the vanilla ice cream is the ideal base for them to be showcased with.  Enjoy this naturally gluten free treat before all the good peaches are gone!

Originally posted September 2015, with minor revisions.

Peach Tartlets, Peachy Keen

It is the peak of peach season so get some peaches and whip up a delicious gluten free peach pie. I wanted individual tarts so everyone would feel special; that I baked them their own mini pie; easy to do!  If you don’t have these deep dish pans you can use the flat bottomed tartlet pans; probably won’t hold quite as much filling. mass upload 8-22-16 563

Please make every effort to use local fruit; can get peaches at orchards like Bechdolt’s near Springtown, at most farm stands and at farmer’s markets; one on Saturdays in Easton or Sunday’s in Hellertown.  This pie really showcases great tasting peaches. If you use lousy peaches your result will lack great flavor. But, here’s the thing: store peaches can be poor in flavor and texture due to improper chilling so I strongly suggest you get locally grown, sweet, ripe peaches to make your pie.  I love when they have a pink blush; it makes the pie so pretty and perhaps even tastier.

To peel; heat 3 inches of plain water in a wide pot, drop the peaches gently in 4-5 at a time and blanch them 2-3 minutes, two if very ripe, 3 if less ripe.  Allow to cool somewhat before peeling.  I like to do that over a bowl to catch the juices as I slice each peach.

Don’t eat these tartlets hot; should be cooled to just warm if you like it so or room temperature or even a bit chilled. They were perfect, just like a big pie only tiny and making one individual dessert.  You could certainly serve them with vanilla ice cream.  And this recipe, like all peach desserts, works perfectly with fresh nectarines, bonus: no peeling required!

Sorry I have not been posting much lately; a little (2.5 day) vacation, a family crisis and a dear friend passing away.  Just been hard to focus on my blog but these tartlets were just too good to not blog about.

Angie’s GF Peach Crumb Tarlets: makes 7

Crust:

1 c plus 2 tbsp brown rice flour mix (at bottom of recipe)

2 Tbsp. sweet rice flour

1 Tbsp. granulated sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

¼ tsp salt

6 Tbsp. cold butter cut into 6 chunks

1 large egg

2 tsp fresh orange or lemon juice

———————

You will need 7 deep dish 4 inch tartlet pans if you make them all at once. I actually froze my dough and made the second batch of 3 a day later. Adjust the filling to the number of tartlets you are baking.

Mix dry ingredients in bowl of stand electric mixer.  Add butter and mix until crumbly and resembling coarse meal.  Add egg and juice.  Mix until it comes together into big chunks.  Shape into a ball with your hands. Put it on a crust sized piece of wax paper (14 x 14 inches more or less), flatten the crust ball some; put on top of it another piece of wax paper and chill it all in your fridge 15-20 minutes while you prepare the filling.

Filling:

6 cups sliced fresh peaches, peeled and cut in thick slices, place in medium bowl

Mix with:

½ cup sugar

1/4 cup quick tapioca

Notes: I made it in two parts; used 7-8 smaller peaches for each batch. Adjust the sugar and tapioca accordingly.  Let the filling stand while you prepare the crust. This is important so the tapioca can soften and absorb some juices before baking.

Construction: Break dough into 7 small equal balls.  Roll out each tiny crust in a pie bag or between the two sheets of wax paper, try to get the thickness even and somewhat thin, no thick middle! Peel off one side of paper and place in pie pan, centered.  Remove other slice of wax paper.  Crimp edges all around.  Or not; I left mine kinda rough but it worked! Place the crust lined pans on a baking sheet with a rim to catch any spills. Fill each tartlet with fruit mixture after you have the crumb topping ready to go. Fill to a tad less than the top edge of the crust.  Do not overfill; they will bubble and spill if you take the filling right to the top edge.mass upload 8-22-16 560

Crumb topping

Put all four ingredients in the same mixing bowl you made the bottom crust in and mix well with mixer paddle until crumbs form. If you let them go extra long you get big fat crumbs for when you want that look, they work great!

¾ c brown rice flour mix

½ c sugar

½ tsp xanthan gum

1/3 c cold butter cut into six chunks

Sprinkle the top of each tartlet with crumb mix; use as much as you like.  I didn’t measure; just sprinkled until the fruit was barely visible through the crumbs. Up to your personal taste… It sinks partially into the fruit mixture and adds lots of sweetness and eye appeal.

Bake in a preheated 400 degree oven for 35 minutes until bubbly and the crumb crust is light brown.  Cool at least 1 hour before serving at room temperature.  I think it is best served the same day you make it, or no more then 12 hours after baking for optimal flavor.  The crumbs will get soggy if too much time passes. Mine was still very good the next day; just not as great as when really fresh.

Note: if you find your bottom crust is not browning enough bake it empty at 375 degrees for ten minutes before filling it with the fruit.  I have a bottom heat pizza style oven which gives me perfect pie crust so I don’t ever have pale pie crust. This is a big benefit of having this type of oven; it is a two oven range with a full sized lower oven.

mass upload 8-22-16 562

Brown Rice Flour Mix (Same as King Arthur GF All purpose blend)
2 c brown rice flour (finely ground)

2/3 c potato starch – Not potato flour

1/3 c tapioca flour

Note: the crust and crumb recipe are out of Annalise Roberts cookbook, Gluten Free Baking Classics, Second Edition. Adaptation and filling recipe are mine.

 

Cherry Sunrise Easter Pie

In two weeks it will Easter, the day of baked ham, chocolate candies and hardboiled eggs… We are skipping ham in favor of a plump roasted chicken with mashed potatoes; my sweet grandchildren live out of state so no egg hunts and minimal chocolate.  As for any holiday meal, I wanted the lunch dessert to be special yet not too heavy or fattening.  I wanted an attractive pie, with fruit, easy to construct and yummy: a tall bill to fill but doable.  I had no hesitation in choosing a family dessert I make many years for Easter.  Cherry sunrise pie.  No need to look further folks, this is it, the dessert of choice for Easter Sunday lunch.

My entire family always forks it down as they are cherry lovers.  I share it so you can make it anytime you want an easy company dessert.   You could make it the night before or early in the morning so it is chilled enough to eat by 1 pm.

It has to have a gluten free crust for me but if you are making it for the wheat eating public there are redi-made crusts out there that will make this so simple yet so delightful.

photo 1

Cherry Sunrise Pie

One pie crust: I made mine from an 8 oz box of gluten free graham crackers crushed and mixed with 1/3 cup melted butter and pressed gently into a 9 inch pie pan.  Bake at 375 degrees for 9 or 10 minutes.  Let cool completely before filling. I made mine the night before.

Ingredients for filling

18 or 19 oz can of crushed pineapple in own juice

1 21 oz can of cherry pie filling

1 8 oz pkg light cream cheese, room temp.

½ tsp vanilla

1 cup heavy cream

¼ cup powdered sugar

Directions

Drain the pineapple for 20 min; save the juice!  I used my microwave to gently warm the cream cheese. I unwrapped it and placed the cold slab on a small plate and warmed it on a very low heat until supple and smooth.  Dump in a mixing bowl, add 2 tbsp pineapple juice, the vanilla, 1/3 cup crushed pineapple, ½ cup cherry pie filling.  If you are smart you will mostly use the goopy stuff and not too many cherries.  Save them for on top! Next, stir this all together really well.

Then whip the chilled heavy cream in a separate bowl with an electric mixer until soft peaks form, add powdered sugar and mix well with the mixer; be careful not to over beat it.  If it gets clumpy you went too far.  Fold this into the cream cheese mix until it isn’t streaky with white areas.

Gently spoon the filling into the pie shell, spread it out to fill the entire bottom.  I used a spoonula (blend of spoon and spatula) and smooth the top with a flat cake spatula.  I like to leave a sort of tiny ridge on the outer edge to keep the pineapple from spilling out onto the crust.  Then carefully pour the rest of the cherry pie filling in the center spreading it to cover ¾ of the top from the center out.  Finally, use a spoon to put clumps of pineapple around the outer rim of the cherry filling.  Chill at least 2 hours, preferably 4.  Cut and slice. No adornments are needed. It has a light fluffy consistency and it isn’t that sweet.  Great to top off a big meal; not too filling and the fresh fruity taste is a spring treat.  Try it soon and you will be giving the recipe out afterwards!

I have no pictures of construction; maybe this Easter I will take the time to snap a few and add them to this post at a later date.

Blueberry Nutella Smush – Heavenly Ice Cream Treat

There are times when nothing but ice cream will do.  After a long tiring day and not much in my tummy I ate an omelet for supper.  It was pretty good but I had seen this article on ice cream blends in a food magazine at the library and was craving to try one. There were more than a dozen mixtures pictured, all based on vanilla ice cream and fruit and at least one or two other ingredients like a sauce and cookies/nuts. nutella

There was one combination I was sure I had all the ingredients, ice cream, bananas, nutella sauce and cornflakes.  Seemingly simple with clean, clear flavors.  Upon some reflection I decided to replace the banana with some fresh blueberries I had purchased at a farm stand. Bananas seemed too bland and I adore blueberries with ice cream. Continue reading